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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

LETTER sx        A POLYGAMOUS HOUSEHOLD                109

to it. The centre is a quadrangle. "When I reached the
gateway under the tower many women welcomed me,
and led me down a darkish passage to the gallery afore-
said, which has a pretty view of low hills, with mulberries
and pomegranates in the foreground. This gallery runs
the whole length of the fort, and good rooms open upon
it. It was furnished with rugs upon the floor, and two
long wooden settees, covered with checked native blankets
in squares of Indian yellow and madder red.

I had presents for the favourite wife, but as one man
said this was the favourite, and another that, and the
hungry eyes of sixteen women were fixed on the parcels,
I took the safer course of presenting them to the Khan
for the "ladies of the andarun" Yahya Khan sent to
know if it would be agreeable to me for him to make his
salaam to me, a proposal which I gladly accepted as a
relief from the curiosity and disagreeable familiarity of
the women. There was a complete rabble of women in
the gallery, with crawling children and screaming babies—
a forlorn, disorderly household, in which the component
parts made no secret of their hatred and jealousy of each
other.

I pitied the Khan as he came in to this Babel of
intriguing women and untutored children—of women
without womanliness and children without innocence—
the lord and master of the women, but not in any noble
sense their husband, nor is the house,* or any polygamous
house, in any sense a home.

The wife who, I \^as afterwards told, is the " reign-
ing favourite " sat on the same settee as her lord, and he
ignored the whole of them. Her father, Bagha Khan,
asked me to give into his care the present for her, lest it
should make the other wives jealous.

Yahya Khan rules a large part of the Pulawand tribe,
1000 families, and aspires to the chieftainship of its